Artificial Turf Cancer

In 2016, the federal government launched a study of artificial turf and cancer, amid reports that an alarming number of soccer goalies and others had developed lymphoma and leukemia following exposure to crumb rubber used in synthetic athletic fields.

Artificial Turf Lawsuit Evaluations

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now evaluating legal claims involving artificial turf and cancer. Please contact our office as soon as possible if you or a loved were diagnosed with lymphoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or leukemia following exposure to synthetic playing fields made from crumb rubber. Free case reviews can be arranged by calling (888) 994-5118.

Crumb Rubber Athletic Fields: What’s the Problem?

Crumb rubber is a material usually made from scrap tires. Also known as tire crumb, these tiny rubber granules are used to manufacture a wide range of products, including soccer and other athletic fields, as well as playground surfaces. However, the material used to produce crumb rubber is known to contain a number of toxins, including mercury, benzene and arsenic. Some older crumb rubber fields have also been found to contain high levels of lead.

Approximately 11,000 synthetic playing fields are currently in use in the United States. In 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a study of four tire crumb fields and concluded that the amounts of toxic chemicals present was of “low concern.”  However, in 2016, the EPA said that it could no longer stand by its conclusion, and launch a new, more comprehensive study to better assess potential risks.

Does Tire Crumb Contribute to Lymphoma and Leukemia?

Amy Griffin, a member of the 1991 World Cup U.S. women’s soccer team began tracking athletes diagnosed with cancer in 2004. By 2016, she had identified 228 individuals who had become ill. Most were born in the late-1980s to mid-1990s and were playing around the time that artificial turf fields became more common. The majority were soccer players, and more than 100 of those were goaltenders. Soccer goalies are more likely than their teammates to be exposed to crumb rubber, as they spend far more playing time on the ground.

The majority of cancers identified by Griffin where lymphomas, followed by leukemia. Both rank among the most common types of cancer in young adults.  However, it is very unusual for lymphoma to occur more frequently than leukemia in this age group. Some public health experts believe that the higher rate of lymphomas noted by Griffin could signal a toxic exposure.

It’s important to note that Griffin’s work was informal, and in no way constitutes proof that artificial turf causes cancer. However, her findings were cited in a report that aired on NBC News in October 2015, prompting two U.S. Senators to seek an investigation into the matter. The EPA, in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, agreed to conduct a more comprehensive study the following February.

How to Contact an Attorney

The attorneys at Bernstein Liebhard LLP are providing legal assistance to individuals who may have developed cancer from artificial turf. To contact our legal staff about a potential case, please call (888) 994-5118.

  1. EPA (2016) “Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields”
  2. Huffington Post (2016) “Worries Mount Over Potential Link Between Artificial Turf And Cancer”
  3. NBC News (2015) “Mom of Goalie Who Died of Cancer Wants Answers on Artificial Turf “
  4. NBC News (2016) “Feds Finally Take Action on Crumb Rubber Turf”
Last Modified: November 17, 2016

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